How I use my StrengthsFinder Strengths of Focus and Achiever to Get Stuff Done

How do you get stuff done?

Two strengths that have always been there for me, and continue to drive my day to day life are Focus and Achiever. The combination of these two strengths working in concert for me never stop helping me.


People strong in the Focus Theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.


People strong in the Achiever Theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.

How Focus and Achiever Pair

Almost every day I get out of bed and think, “What do I want to get done today, and what should I start with?” Achiever is my engine. I must get things done each and every day or I will go to bed feeling as if something is amiss. Focus is my guide. Focus takes the 100’s of things I want to do each and every day and puts them into a prioritized order.

Focus is my Get out of Jail Free Card

Focus works even better under deadlines. When you give me a certain deadline, I will do whatever it takes to get things done before that deadline. It allows me to block out everything else in order to get things done.

I had a short career as a high school volleyball player, and now I understand how I played because of Focus. When I was in the back row ready to receive the ball from the opposing team, I focused so much on the ball coming to me, I could see the rotation, (or lack) and anticipate which way it was moving. I would execute the pass to the setter and focus on what was happening next.

The strength of Focus was so strong that I could almost never hear what my coach was telling me to do until the play was over. Later when I started coaching I realized I was constantly telling my players to focus! Little did I know this was how I was wired. Not all players are wired to focus. Now I am a bit more aware of my use of that phrase with my players.

Achiever Drives me Constantly

When I am able to check something off a to do list, it feels fantastic – for a minute. Then, a rumble starts in my brain that leads me to ask, what’s next? This strength is something I try to leverage for whatever organization I am working for or client we are with. If someone lets me know what needs to get done, I help them figure out how we can get it done and with who.

Every strength has a balcony and a basement. This is something I learned from one of my best trainers during my time studying at Gallup at their corporate headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. Stosh Walsh pushed us to think about what our strengths look like when they were at their best and when they were at their worst. I had been through a number of Gallup trainings around strengths and this was the first time someone had pushed us in this direction.

My Strengths Basement

I love my strengths of Focus and Achiever but they can also drive me to never stop, never break, and towards burnout. That is the basement of those strengths. I try and stay away from it as much as possible.

How? I funnel my achievement into health and exercise not just work. I make sure achievement and focus turns at my marriage, my son and my friends. Those things are more important than anything I do in my career.

I mostly stay out of the basement of my strengths and love the fact that I have Focus and Achiever.

Your Strengths Basement and Balcony

What combinations of strengths do you see working in your own life? How do you keep your strengths in the balcony and stay out of the basement? Share in the comments below.